Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) raises a helmet. The University of Georgia football team defeats Ohio State University 42-41 in the Peach Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (Photo/Jessica Gratigny; @jgratphoto)

On Jan. 23, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett accepted the 2022 Manning Award, an honor given to the best quarterback in college football.

“We started the Manning Award 19 years ago as a way to recognize the country’s top quarterback for the full season, including the postseason,” said Archie Manning, one of the award’s namesakes. “I’m not sure we’ve ever had an honoree who showcased his ability and proved his worth all the way through the postseason like Stetson did this year.”

Bennett is the first Georgia quarterback to win the award, which was first bestowed in 2004. He threw for over 4,000 yards in the 2022 season, adding 37 total touchdowns to his resume as he led Georgia to a national championship for the second-straight year.

For his efforts, Bennett became Georgia’s first Heisman finalist since running back Garrison Hearst in 1992. Bennett’s 29-3 record as a starting quarterback speaks for itself, but his performances in high-pressure situations were even more impressive.

Bennett tallied nearly 1,000 passing yards in three postseason games this season, racking up fourteen touchdowns and only allowing a single turnover. When accepting the award, though, Bennett thanked his fellow Bulldogs for helping him achieve such success.

"I obviously couldn’t be here without my teammates,” Bennett said. “I mean, I don’t know if you knew this, but I got sacked nine times this year. So, it’s easy to throw the ball whenever you’re not picking yourself up off the ground."

The sixth-year senior has already cemented his name in Georgia history. Bennett helped break a 41-year championship drought for the football team. He also ranks in the program’s top five in pass completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, total offense and completion percentage.

Bennett’s future, for now, is uncertain. He hasn’t officially declared for the NFL draft — every past winner of the Manning Award has been drafted into the NFL — and he hasn’t committed to playing in the Senior Bowl, even though his NCAA eligibility has expired.

One thing is for certain, though. The name ‘Stetson Bennett’ will always be synonymous with one of the most successful eras in Georgia football history.

Sports Editor

John is the sports editor at The Red & Black, where he previously covered UGA's hockey club and football program. He is a junior at the university, pursuing a degree in journalism and a certificate from the Carmical Sports Media Institute.

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